2024 GRAND NATIONAL RUNNERS & ODDS
Below you can view the potential Grand National Runners with their ante-post odds.
Antepost odds listed on this page are taken from Paddy Power on 15/04/2023. No horse is guaranteed a position in the race until the final declaration stage (11/04/2024). Check the odds with your Bookmaker before placing a bet, as fluctuations occur. Full Terms and Conditions for the promotional bet offers can be found on the respective websites – read them before you sign up.
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WHO DECIDES THE GRAND NATIONAL RUNNERS?
The Road to Aintree: Who Decides the Final 40 Runners
Every year, a maximum of 40 runners line up at the start of the Aintree Grand National, and 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch them tackle the 30 notoriously difficult fences in a bid to put themselves into the history books. But how do those particular runners and riders make it to Grand National Day?
A horse will be entered into the Grand National 2024 if it meets the minimum criteria for qualification and the owner and trainer feel that their horse is capable of handling the race.
Not all horses are suited to the long Aintree course or have the necessary jumping ability. Even if a horse gets entered, that doesn’t guarantee a place at the starting line as frequently over 100 get entered, but there is a maximum field of just 40 for the race.
The race is open to horses aged seven and upwards that have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and have achieved a rating of at least 125 by the BHA Handicapper.
The entry date for the race is always at the end of January or the beginning of February, depending on the date of the race in April.
The names and numbers are announced by the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) the following day.
Number Of Entries
- 2023 – 85
- 2022 – 107
- 2021 – 106
- 2020 – 105 (cancelled)
- 2019 – 112
- 2018 – 105
- 2017 – 110
- 2016 – 126
- 2015 – 98
The BHA Head Of Handicapping then takes the list of entries and frames the weights.
In other words, he decides which runners will carry the heaviest weights and which will carry the least. The handicap system is designed to give every horse a fair chance of winning the race, and good horses will carry more weight than those perceived to have less ability.
The maximum weight any horse can carry in the Grand National will be 11st 12lbs. The BHA has confirmed an across-the-board 2lbs rise in published weights as part of a safety allowance for jockeys as of May 2022.
The minimum weight for the Grand National will now be 10st 2lbs. Each runner’s weight will be largely determined by their OR (Official Rating); the higher the rating, the higher the weight.
Although the Grand National is the only race in Britain in which the Handicapper can ignore the official ratings if he wishes, often to the consternation of owners and trainers.
Horses are then put in descending order from the highest to the lowest weighted, determining their race number. The top-weighted horse is number one, the second heaviest weighted horse is number two, and so on.
The weights are then announced, and from then on, a series of ‘Declaration Stages’ or ‘Forfeit Stages’ take place.
At each stage of the selection process, trainers can withdraw their runners. As horses are removed, the list of entries narrows down. This allows horses that initially didn't make the Top 40 to move up the ranks if entries above them are withdrawn.
In 2023, there were three top-weighted runners – Any Second Now, Conflated and Hewick. However, as two were withdrawn, it left Any Second Now carrying top weight.
The last declaration stage occurs at 10 a.m. on the Thursday before Grand National Day. This is where the top 40 Grand National runners are as good as finalised.
Unfortunately, in 2020, the race was cancelled and did not go ahead. In 2021, no runners were withdrawn at the final stage, and 40 runners ran.
In 2022, Commodore, School Boy Hours and Romain De Senam took the final spots in the Grand National after Phoenix Way, Easysland and Lord Du Mesnil were declared non-runners.
However, Aintree has announced the reserve system for the Grand National will be discontinued from the 2023 renewal onwards. So now, if a horse is withdrawn at the final stage, it will not be replaced.
In 2023, on Grand National Day, Escaria Ten from trainer Gordon Elliott was withdrawn due to lameness. That meant 39 ran in the race.
2023 GRAND NATIONAL RACE FAVOURITE
Two horses are currently vying for the spot of Grand National 2023 favourite. Corach Rambler and Noble Yeats are on very short odds.
Of course anything can happen between now and race day and as the National draws ever closer and excitement intensifies, the odds will change.
With back-to-back wins in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Corach Rambler has become a firm favourite to win the 2023 Grand National.
Trained by Lucinda Russell, who won this race with One For Arthur in 2017, Corach Rambler is now considered 10lbs well in after his rating shot up from 146 to 156 after his winning performance at the Festival.
But winning at three miles is a very different prospect to winning at more than four. Even Peter Scudamore, Lucinda Russell’s assistant, has acknowledged the uphill battle stating:
“Corach Rambler has done what he’s done over three miles and three and a quarter, but whether he can step up and do it over four and a quarter miles remains to be seen, so let’s see what happens.”
Noble Yeats defied all the stats when winning this race in 2022. As a 7-year-old novice chaser, he wasn’t really given much of a chance going into the race.
Other than the fact that jockey Sam Waley-Cohen had announced he would retire after the race, nobody really took much notice.
Giving the Waley-Cohen family a day to remember – they also own the horse – and trainer Emmet Mullins his first win, he is back again for the 2023 Grand National.
On spectacular form, if he gets a clean run around the course, he really could get that much coveted back-to-back win.
The criteria for professional or amateur jockeys wanting to take part in the race are very specific.
They must have ridden not less than 15 winners in chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in chases.
A champion jockey like A.P. McCoy who primarily rode horses for super owner J.P. McManus had his pick of horses in the race before he retired.
Top jockey Barry Geraghty took over as the retained rider for McManus but announced his retirement in July 2020.
Since then Mark Walsh has been named as the retained rider for the McManus horses in Ireland.
The likes of Jack Kennedy and Rachael Blackmore are other top jockeys who can often choose their rides and odds will tumble on any horses chosen by the pair.
Amateur jockeys are now a rarity in the Grand National compared with races early days.
Sam Waley-Cohen is probably the most famous amateur rider in recent years and he enjoys a record over the Aintree fences which is the envy of many a professional. That includes winning the race in 2022!
Other jockeys will usually ride for the yards that retain them or a trainer will engage their services just for this race.
In recent years a number of high-profile jockeys have missed the race due to injuries picked up at the Cheltenham festival which is the last major National Hunt meeting before Aintree.
In 2018, Ruby Walsh suffered a leg fracture and Leighton Aspell suffered a neck injury that put them out of contention for the Grand National.
Bryony Frost experienced the same fate in 2019 when an injury at Cheltenham ruled her out of the National.
Don’t be put off backing a less well-known jockey or even one who has never ridden the course before.
In 2013 jockey Ryan Mania won the race at his first attempt. And David Mullins did the same thing on Rule The World in 2016!
In 2018 we saw a number of jockeys making their debut. They included James Bowen, Bryony Frost, Sam Coltherd, and Rachael Blackmore. Bryony Frost was the best finisher, getting Milansbar to fifth place.
In the Grand National 2019, Lizzie Kelly made her debut on Tea For Two.
By the end of the Grand National 2021, history had been made. Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times ran the perfect race, making Blackmore the first female jockey to ever win the Grand National.
For the 2022 Grand National, there were seven jockey’s making their debut.
They were: Tommy Dowson, Conor Orr, Ricky Doyle, Philip Armson, Jordan Gainford, Hugh Nugent, and Harry Bannister.
The 2023 Grand National will also see some new faces for fans to watch as eight jockeys will take their first trip in the big race.
They are: Theo Gillard, Alan Johns, Ben Jones, Michael O’Sullivan, Kieren Buckley, Shane Fitzgerald, Simon Torrens and Jack Foley.
GRAND NATIONAL 2024
The 2024 Grand National will be held at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, April 13th at 5.15pm. The Randox Health sponsored race is run over 4 miles 514 yards with 30 jumps over two circuits of the course.
The odds quoted on any horse in the Grand National represent your potential returns if that horse should win. If a horse is quoted as 10/1 then the 10 figure is the amount you’ll get back from the bookie for a 1 unit stake. In other words, bet £1 and you’ll win £10 back. You’ll also get back the original £1 stake, making a total return of £11.
The simple answer is the bookmakers. Initially, bookies will offer odds on all the horses running in the National and the bookmaker is aiming to show a profit on the race regardless of the outcome. In many ways the bookmaker doesn’t care who wins, because if he can get the maths right, he will always come out on top. Although this doesn’t always happen over one race.
In a perfect world the spread of bets on the race would guarantee the bookie a nice profit whoever wins. However, if punters keep placing bets on one horse, let us call this horse ‘Plucky Pete’, at a level disproportionate to other runners then the bookie has built up a potential liability. If ‘Plucky Pete’ wins the race the bookie will lose a fortune and they really don’t like losing! To stop this happening the bookmaker has a couple of options. They can offer bigger odds on other runners and simultaneously shorten the odds on ‘Plucky Pete’ in the hope of attracting bets away from the horse with the big liability and onto other runners. This is why you see the odds fluctuating right up until the off.
So the bookmaker sets the odds initially but the volume of money place on any runner will move the odds right up until the race starts.
The ‘Each Way’ bet works like this… Instead of betting on a horse to come 1st you can make a bet that your horse can finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (some bookmakers payout 5th & 6th places) The each way bet is really two bets in one, a £5 each way bet will cost you £10. You’re betting £5 that a horse wins and £5 that he will finish in one of the places.
Sounds like a good deal? And for the Grand National, it can make sense to back a horse each way over a straight win bet, but remember bookies aren’t registered charities. So to compensate for your increased chances of winning they reduce the quoted odds on the place part of the bet. If a horse comes home 1st you’ll still get the full quoted odds. However, should he only place, you’ll only get a quarter of the quoted odds (some bookmaker pay less than a quarter odds).
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